Planning changes for EV charging in NI


In our previous insight looking at how Northern Ireland’s EV charging network could grow we highlighted planning policy changes were needed to help move NI’s charging infrastructure forward. The publication last week of the Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2020 is therefore a positive step. 

From 21 December 2020 this legislation, alongside other planning amendments, introduces permitted development in Northern Ireland related to electric vehicle charging points.  

Adding to Part 3 (Minor Operations) of the Schedule to the Planning (General Permitted Development) Order (Northern Ireland) 2015 three new classes of permitted development are added covering the installation, alteration or replacement of wall-mounted or upstand electrical outlets within areas lawfully used for off-street parking, and the replacement of existing upstands.

For all three no development is permitted within a site of archaeological interest or the curtilage of a listed building, unless listed building consent for the development has previously been granted.

Wall mounted outlets for EV charging

Class D deals with permitted development for: “The installation, alteration or replacement, within an area lawfully used for off-street parking, of an electrical outlet mounted on a wall for recharging electric vehicles”. The outlet and its casing must not exceed 0.2 cubic metres and cannot be within 2 metres of a road. 

Upstand electric outlets for EV charging

Class E deals with permitted development for: “The installation, alteration or replacement, within an area lawfully used for off-street parking, of an upstand with an electrical outlet mounted on it for recharging electric vehicles.”

An upstand and outlet cannot be within 2 metres of a road. There are also height restrictions with an upstand and outlet within the curtilage of dwelling house or block of flats (defined as a building with at least 2 flats) not permitted over 1.6m in height from the level of the parking surface. Elsewhere, an upstand and outlet is not permitted over 2.3m in height from the parking surface. 

Development is also not permitted if more than one upstand is provided per parking space.

Replacement of on-street original upstand electric outlets for EV charging

Class F deals with permitted development for “The replacement of an on-street original upstand with an electrical outlet mounted on it for recharging electric vehicles.”
The legislation defines an “original upstand” as an upstand with an electrical outlet mounted on it for recharging electric vehicles, lawfully present on 20th December 2020.
There are height restrictions here too with the upstand and the outlet not permitted to exceed 2.0 metres in height from the level of the parking surface and again more than 1 upstand provided per parking space is not permitted.

All three classes require that when no longer needed for EV charging the development is removed as soon as practicable. So far as reasonably practicable, the wall or land on which the outlet or upstand is mounted or set into must also be reinstated to its pre development condition.  

These planning changes, alongside the decision by the Utility Regulator for Northern Ireland earlier this year to introduce an exemption to the Maximum Resale Price for the resale of electricity where it relates to the propulsion of a Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV), reduce some of the hurdles to private charging infrastructure development in Northern Ireland. In particular, this will be useful for retailers seeking to install “destination charging” in existing parking spaces and for commercial premises to provide charging facilities for fleet vehicles or employees. 

The full legislation can be found here. For more information on the above or the other changes including mineral exploration, electronic communications or the development of modification of a loading bay of a shop please get in touch. 

TLT’s Belfast-based Planning, Environment & Clean Energy team advises on all aspects of planning and environmental law in Northern Ireland and are qualified in Northern Ireland, England & Wales and the Republic of Ireland.

Contributor: Sarah Mulholland

This publication is intended for general guidance and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at December 2020. Specific advice should be sought for specific cases. For more information see our terms & conditions.


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